Maintaining business continuity in the face of a disaster

December 17 2013, by Macquarie Technology Group | Category: Technology Group

We recently partnered with Power Retail on a special report on disaster recovery and considered the steps a business should be taking in order to best prepare for the worst. You can download the full report for free here.

The report features an interesting Q&A with Alex de Gruiter, product manager of Business Continuity at Macquarie Telecom who shared his own impressions on disaster recovery preparedness which we’ve reproduced in full below:

What are some of the more common examples you see occurring to online retailers and what are some of the obvious effects they have?

The simple reality is that there isn’t any truly common example of a disaster that might cripple your business and its digital infrastructure. There’s such a broad variety of concerns and each one will be more or less likely according to your specific business systems and physical environment. In Australia, we’re regularly seeing examples of natural disasters such as floods, bushfires and even cyclones, but in other places in the world you might add earthquakes and tornadoes to that list.

On the other hand, there are even more examples of ways a disaster may be triggered as a result of human error – or even conscious wrongdoing. In the vast majority of these cases, there is generally a service provider or solution available that can help minimise risks. There may be multiple systems your overall IT requirement is serviced by, so it’s absolutely critical that a business appraises each one
for potential weakness and more suitable alternatives.

When it comes to hosting, a less-than-thorough understanding of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), may result in an online business believing they are covered in the case of an outage, only to find out that the service level of their service provider is inappropriate for their business. The net result is the business may eventually go offline for a long time with no recourse.

The impact of the above disasters is typically a direct hit to the bottom line. However, the flow-on effects to reputation and brand are typically more serious than the short-term revenue loss. The speed of social media

means any significant outage is typically well publicised in real-time and the effects communicated widely amongst internet users and sometimes traditional media.

How much thought should be given to disaster recovery? Are local businesses as prepared as they should be, or is this not a very big priority?

Unfortunately most businesses are not very well prepared for a disaster. When the unthinkable happens, they are often left without the tools they need to manage the situation effectively. This is in part driven by budget considerations that businesses are regularly placed under in a highly competitive online market. But there’s potentially an even larger concern; many still don’t understand the risks of a disaster, as many online organisations either don’t review or do not fully comprehend what their SLA provides for them in an outage. As a result, disaster avoidance is often not prioritised as it should be until after the event, causing significant damage to the online business.

How does Macquarie Telecom assist businesses in the event of such crises?

Macquarie Telecom’s LAUNCH Disaster Recovery is a fully outsourced disaster recovery solution that works at the hypervisor level. One of the true benefits of the system

is that it’s ‘application independent’, so it works with a wide range of applications and environments.

With one of the lowest downtimes for a disaster recovery solution in the industry, LAUNCH Disaster Recovery enables online businesses to get back up and running in less than 30 minutes, as if nothing had happened. Our committed data retention policy means that when disaster strikes, you won’t experience more than five minutes of data loss. In reality, most customers experience less than one minute of data loss.

Is your business prepared to face a data disaster? Get your hands on the complete Disaster Recovery Special Report for free via Power Retail here.